Malay/Printable version


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Malay is an Austronesian language. It is spoken in southeastern Asia in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and the Philippines. It is fairly simple compared to other Asian languages, as it uses the Latin script. It is similar to Indonesian in pronunciation and shares some words such as "Halo" with this language. The creators of this book hope you enjoy it and use it as a source for your studies, whether it is primary or secondary.

Why Should I learn Malay?Edit

Learning Malay can not only be a fun thing to do, but you could then also communicate with Malay speaking people in the countries mentioned above. It would also be a great opportunity to visit a Malay speaking country, or just learn a little more about Malaysian culture and lifestyle. You could learn simple phrases to use while traveling or if you plan on moving to Malaysia, it would help you out with situations such as not knowing the area and be able to communicate with people if you need help.

How this book is DesignedEdit

This book is designed to help you in your studies of Malay. It is divided into sections with Introduction, Alphabet, Pronunciation, Vowels, Consonants, Basics, Beginner Level, Intermediate Level, Advanced Level, Quick Phrases and other useful links. We hope you enjoy this book, and please take the time to explore more about the Malay culture, as it is very unique. One good place to do so is on Wikipedia and you can also research other websites online for information about the Malay language and Malaysia.

Please continue to next page Malay/Alphabet


The Malay alphabet consists of 26 letters from the Latin alphabet, like the English alphabet, and is based of the Latin script. There are two different types of script used in Malay. One being the currently used one, and the Jawi script.

Aa as in the word “ask”,

Bb same as in English

Cc like “tch”.

Dd same as in English.

Ee as in “elevated” and also as in "taken"

Ff same as in English

Gg as in "good" and never as in "gist"

Hh as in “Hotel”

Ii as in the word “ink” never as in the word “island”

Jj same as in English “job”

Kk same as in English.

Ll like “l” in “life”.

Mm same as in English

Nn same as in English

Oo same as in English “Old” never as in “Hot” which is pronounced somehow like {hat}

Pp same as in English

Qq same as in English.

Rr same as in English

Ss same as in English

Tt same as in English but not as sharp.

Uu as in the “put”, never as in the word “cup” or “university”

Vv same as in English

Ww same as in English

Xx as “kh”, sometimes as “ks”

Yy same as in English.

Zz same as in English.

dz as “th” in “that”

kh as “ch” in “loch”

Ua as “ua”

Ny as “ñ” in the “español”

Ng as “ng” in the “sing”

Ngg as in “singing girl”

Sy as in “sh”

The names of the letters are basically the same, except for Z, which is "zed".


A as in are

E as in person/pear

I as in ink

O as in or

U as in put

When an ‘a’ is at the end of the word, it can also be pronounced like an ‘ə’. Both ways are correct, but native speakers normally pronounce it as an ‘ə’. For example:

Apa (what) can be pronounced as ah-puh instead of ah-pah|

Dua (two) can be pronounced as do-uh instead of do-ah|

Bahasa (language) can be pronounced as bah-ha-suh instead of bah-ha-sah


Malay Language consonants are identical to English consonants ->BCDFGHJKLMNPQRSTVWXYZ


Here are some survival phrases needed when visiting Malaysia or other Malay speaking countries.

English - Malay

Hello Helo

Goodbye Selamat Tinggal

Where is the bathroom? Di mana bilik mandi?

What is your name? Siapa nama awak?

Do you speak english? Boleh awak bercakap bahasa Inggeris?

I'm from America/Malaysia. Saya dari Amerika/Malaysia.

How are you? Apa khabar?

Beginner/Lesson 1

Good morning - selamat pagi